ABOUT THE BOOK:
Blog title: Choose Yourself Summary By James Altucher
Name: Choose Yourself!: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream
Author: James Altucher
Download Free at: Audible
Book available at: Amazon
Book size: 276 pages
The world is changing. Markets have crashed. Jobs have disappeared. Industries
have been disrupted and are being remade before our eyes. Everything we aspired to for
“security,” everything we thought was “safe,” no longer is: College. Employment. Retirement.
Government. It’s all crumbling down.
Some people might read the title of this book and be a little skeptical – ‘Be Happy, Make Millions’, really? However, if you give this book a read, you just might find yourself believing that you can do just that!
The author, James Altucher, is not trying to sell some story. He is simply telling us what has worked for him and could possibly work for us, too.
Altucher, an entrepreneur, writer, and investor has made millions. He has also lost millions. Twice. He has been lower than low, but has always found his way back. Now he is stronger than ever and sharing his story, inspiration, and what has worked for him.
He has found a way to choose himself and hopes to inspire others to do the same with some simple ideas and practices outlined in the book.
Choose Yourself is an excellent book that proves to be motivating, inspiring, and even a bit enlightening.
The book is an easy and enjoyable read and could very well be the start of a movement – The Choose Yourself Movement.
Altucher exposes much about his own life (mostly the failures) throughout the book. He walks the reader through how he came to choose himself and outlines why we all need to do the same.
It’s a New World
It should come as no surprise that the economy has undergone significant change over the past several decades. With the advancements in technology, jobs are being replaced by machines and robots. Why pay someone a weekly wage when you can have a machine do the work? Business owners prefer this – they don’t have to worry about hiring/ firing, paying for health benefits and vacations.
There was a time when jobs were plenty and you could count on your job being around. The company needed you and they paid a decent wage.
That time is gone. Jobs are harder to come by, which means people are willing to accept lower wages just to have an income.
The number of people who are either unemployed or under-employed (making less money than what they are worth) is at an all time high.
What else is at an all time high? Debt – country debt as well as individual debt. We want more and more, but have less money to attain it.
This news isn’t meant to incite mayhem (havoc) and it is not meant to be pessimistic – it is simply reality. The world is changing and we have to adapt.
We can’t rely on the work force to give us a job and provide for us. This is why Altucher says,
Build your own platform, have faith and confidence in yourself… and define success by your own terms.
This is the ‘Choose Yourself Era’ where each individual has to take charge of his life and decide if he wants something better.
Are you under-employed? Making less money than what you are worth?
Does your job security depend on one person? Meaning is there one person (likely your boss) who can decide that you are no good for whatever reason and you would be out? Just like that. This is an unfortunate reality that many people have experienced. The author experienced such a thing and said to himself, Never again should I rely on the whims of one person to choose my success or failure in any endeavor.
The first part of the book outlines this new world we live in and proceeds to ask if this is what we really want for our life (unemployment, under-employment and lack of security). The argument is compelling and if we pay attention to the world at all, we have to see the reality of it.
It is time to create your own path and live your own dream. Altucher believes that if you apply the principles in his book, you can do just that.
How to Choose Yourself
In order to choose yourself it is important to focus on 2 things:
Choose Yourself Summary: 1. Only Do Things You Enjoy
What does this mean? Only read the books you enjoy, spend time with people you enjoy, go to events you enjoy, only work with people you enjoy and so on.
So many of us do things that we hate because we think it will get us somewhere. Oftentimes the things that we
do (that we hate) don’t get us anywhere positive, but instead make us resentful, upset, and stressed.
Every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up.
Doing things you want will fuel your inner fire and this is the only fire to cultivate. Everything else will burn out your fire.
Choose Yourself Summary: 2. The Daily Practice
To be the best that you can be, you must take care of yourself. In order to do so, you need to think of your entire being. Your entire being consists of your Physical Body, Emotional Body, Mental Body and Spiritual Body.
You need to look at your life holistically. The Physical Body can’t do well when the Emotional Body is suffering. They are all related and intertwined. You have to care for all 4 of these aspects in order to be healthy, positive, and be able to choose yourself.
How to care for these 4 aspects:
Caring for the Physical Body:
Get proper sleep (7-9 hours)
Avoid excess alcohol
Avoid junk food
Caring for the Emotional Body:
Surround yourself with people who inspire you and are a positive influence on your life. Too many of us spend time with people who make us feel bad about ourselves. Stop doing that.
Caring for your Mental Body:
Here the author suggests that our mind is always ‘on’; we are always thinking. This only leads to burnout, stress, and exhaustion.
With this we come to an end of the book Choose Yourself Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher. See you in the 2nd part of the book where the authors reveals the secret of idea generation.
The author suggests controlling the mind by focused attention on what he calls idea generation.
This practice has two benefits. First, it focuses the mind and it exercises the brain in a positive way. Generating ideas flexes the creative muscle in the brain. The Mental Body is taken care of by exercising it.
For example, think of 10 business ideas every day, or think of 10 ways to improve your job, or whatever.
The purpose is to make yourself think about these things and only these things – focused attention. Otherwise we end up thinking about the stressful meeting we had with the boss or the presentation we have to give tomorrow.
I have tried this and I really like it. You really have to work at it and be creative. I think it is an excellent exercise that does serve the 2 purposes that he outlines.
Caring for the Spiritual Body:
The author does not preach religion by any stretch of imagination. His focus is on living in the present moment. Many of us live in the past with regrets, or in the future with fears. The past and the future are not here, and dwelling on them hurts the spiritual self.
Choose Yourself Summary: 3. How do you get started?
What sorts of things should you do to practice The Daily Practice?
Altucher suggests starting out slowly with one thing per day and then build on it. Making big changes too fast can lead to a low success rate.
Here are his suggestions (again start with doing just 1 per day):
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Don’t watch TV
- Don’t eat junk food
- Don’t complain for the entire day
- Don’t gossip for the entire day
- Watch a funny movie or a stand-up comedy
- Express thanks to a friend
- Write down 10 ideas (about whatever you want)
- Read a spiritual (or inspiring) text
- Start a hobby
- Do something to surprise someone
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Think of 10 people you are grateful for
- Tell someone that you love them
- Read an autobiography of someone you admire
- Practice deep breathing
Here are some other ideas:
- Practice yoga poses
- Meditate for 5 minutes
- Call a family member you haven’t talked to for a while
- Run and play with a dog
- Volunteer 1 hour to a cause you believe in
- Say hello to at least 20 people
The point of The Daily Practice is to always keep the 4 aspects of our life healthy. Caring for your holistic health is necessary for choosing yourself.
Can you see how The Daily Practice and Only Doing Things You Enjoy are intertwined? All of these things care for our entire being.
You must build a proper foundation to build upon. If your core is weak, you can’t succeed. The Daily Practice helps keep our entire being aligned.
Questions for the physical body
– Am I getting enough sleep?
– Am I eating healthy?
– Am I exercising enough?
Questions for the emotional body
– Am I surrounding myself with good people who care about me?
– Am I refraining from gossip?
Questions for the mental body
– Am I reading and learning everyday?
– Am I flexing my mind by thinking of new ideas everyday?
Questions for the spiritual body
– Am I reading something inspirational everyday?
– Am I being grateful everyday?
– Am I taking time to be calm in my mind?
There are a few core messages throughout the book. First, we have the reality of the changing world. We can no longer rely on society or a job to take care of us. We must adapt and find success for ourselves. The rules of the world have changed and we need to make new rules.
Second, is the idea behind caring for your entire self. We can’t be successful and happy when there is an area in our life that is not being cared for. Things only fall into place when we look at ourselves holistically.
Finally, there is the message that we can do this. We can choose ourself. It will, however require us to do things differently. Making our way in this new world will require some of the following:
- Thinking outside the box. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something. If you want something, figure out a way to get it your own way. You don’t need to go the traditional route. Be different. Make your own rules.
- Be confident. You can’t think you are too young or too old. You can choose yourself at any age, you just have to know that you can do it.
- Be an idea machine. Be creative and make your own success. Exercise your creative brain by thinking of new ideas every day. Think of new business ideas, new ways to make your job easier, anything.
It’s not that all of your thoughts and ideas have to be the next big thing. They won’t, but you are exercising your mind to be creative and who knows, maybe one of your ideas will be the next big thing.
This is about the new phase in history where art, science, business, and spirit will join together, both externally and internally, in the pursuit of true wealth. It’s a phase where ideas are more important than people and everyone will have to choose themselves for happiness.
Altucher has several chapters in the book that discuss specific examples of people who choose themselves and made something work for them.
For example, Tucker Max who started his own publishing company because he was not happy with traditional book publishers. In doing so, he made much more money than if he would have went the traditional route.
Or Alex Day who posts his music on YouTube; He found a different way to do things and made his own success. He took out the middleman (record producers in this case) and won big.
Altucher also gives us some great ideas to get our idea machine flowing. But in order to get all of the little nuggets of wisdom, I suggest you read the book yourself. Certain ideas will stand out differently for everyone.